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Uncle Sam Needs You!

Election Assistance Commission Chairman DeForest Soaries plans to announce the launch of a massive national poll worker recruitment initiative around the July Fourth holiday. [IMGCAP(1)]

Last week, Soaries addressed a corporate volunteer luncheon in Kansas City, Mo., where he appealed to business leaders to help such efforts by allowing their employees a day off from work without having to take personal time, or vacation days, to assist as poll workers.

“We need the same corporate support for Americans serving elections that we have for Americans serving jury duty,” Soaries said.

Doug Lewis, director of the Election Center, a professional organization of election officials, praised the unprecedented move, noting that in the nearly 40 years he’s been involved in the elections process, never has a federal government agency ever worked to spur people to volunteer their time to help on Election Day.

A New Women’s Liberation Movement. In an effort to return Iraq to the relative gender progressivism of its pre-Baathist days, all 14 female Senators on Tuesday introduced legislation aimed at improving the lives of Iraq’s women and children.

Among other things, the Iraqi Women’s and Children’s Liberation Act of 2004 would authorize federal funding to enhance the political participation, security and economic well-being of Iraqi women. It would also provide for education and health care assistance for Iraqi women and children residing not only in Iraq but those as refugees in other countries.

The legislation, co-authored by Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), would require the secretary of State to submit a report to Congress assessing the status and living conditions of Iraq’s women and children, as well as U.S. expenditures to improve that status six months after enactment. A report would also be required every six months thereafter for three years.

— Amy Keller and Bree Hocking